Another week in confinement saw new measures being introduced. An Taoiseach has said he doesn't like the phrase 'lockdown' as a concept. Perhaps because it sounds punitive, unlike the cosy little re-brand of isolation now better known as cocooning. Still, I wish we could lean in to the severity of our situation if only to dissuade the packs of kids and joggers roaming my local park and slinking past my little wagon train of kid, bike, pram, toddler and newborn clung to my chest in his stretchy wrap.
Can you give us a bit of space please?" gets me the finger from "the youths" while the joggers glare at my kids as though I'm needlessly lugging tiny adorable biohazards on my daily 2km loop - which in a way I guess I am, though it is far from needless, it is a sanity-preserving non-negotiable. Parents of young kids will know.
Of course, I'm as tetchy - okay, unhinged - as anyone else. Another walker strays near me in the deserted park and I shriek: "Are you f**king kidding me?! You could go anywhere in this whole bloody place."
"Hi Sophie!" she responds. I know her. Of course I do. And she's also one of our frontline healthcare heroes. Clearly three weeks into "not lockdown", I'm too mad to be out and too crazed to stay in. Perhaps, it is best that movements are now being restricted after all. Keep my histrionics as contained as possible. Anxious, bored, cheery and depressed. The range of human emotion - just like our movements - has boiled down to a narrow scope. In some of my WhatsApp groups, I've noticed, there is an on-going battle to be the person having the worst pandemic.
Everything is harder for these people and they are not the people whose loved ones are caught up in the virus, they're the people queuing outside Tesco for a bottle of Gavi, some good cheese, a decent avocado and likening Covid-19 to wartime. Still, I'd take them over the relentlessly cheery people. You know these ones, they are the non-stop purveyors of "it could be worse"s and other jolly little epitaphs that depending on the moment make me want to scream into a pillow or tear my own face off with irritation.
Luckily, there are people more unhinged than I am to engage with currently - namely the crew of Tiger King who are making me feel positively sane and sensible during these claustrophobic times. If you haven't watched the Netflix documentary which is part-hillbilly opera and part-dregs of a Jerry Springer panel circa 2002, then get on it. It'll definitely help you feel grateful for your current situation, if only for the fact that you are not self-isolating with any of these people. There is also an excellent burgeoning canon of memes on Twitter for when you've finished it.
On the meme front, no one could have predicted that along with the pandemic there would be an accompanying WhatsApp Spamdemic - the hateful tsunami of forwarded memes, "hilarious" videos and origin-less, chainmail-like missives of the "my cousin's brother-in-law's pet terrapin knows higher-ups in the HSE and they said they'll be grounding all planes and going door-to-door saying hourly masses from tonight at midnight" variety. I erupted finally at my mother when she sent me a picture of Trump sporting pigtails and a caption about the hairdressers being closed.
"I could tolerate these endless forwards if they were remotely funny but they're not," I typed in an admittedly vicious overreaction.
"I know I sound like a meme-snob but there has to be a bar," I implored my husband to see my side of the row. "Old people who were previously ignorant of memes, now making them on a daily basis means the quality has nosedived, the entire integrity of the medium is at risk."
"Yes… yes… the art of meming is 'at risk'," he mimed air quotes which, I guess, I deserved.
My mother and I had thankfully made up in time for my birthday Zoom dinner party. Usually, in our family, turnout for these things can be patchy as there's a few living beyond the Pale but my 35th was a landmark year in that everyone showed up. I had stipulated formal attire from the waist up and my mother appeared on screen in a sequin jacket while I dyed my hair specially. We each occupied the little Celebrity Squares-style boxes on the Zoom app that now signifies the majority of human socialising and managed to have an impressively normal family get-together.
Normal in the sense that the usual slagging, Machiavellian alliances and piss-takery was in full swing. It was brilliant and bizarre in equal measure. Like many things are these days.